Songezo Jim Rides Trois Etape for World Bicycle Relief
Photo: Mark Squire
Songezo Jim Lives to Ride.
Songezo Jim was born in Umtata in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa in 1990. He suffered the tragedy of losing both his parents at a young age; his mother passed away in 2002 and his father in 2004. His aunt decided to move Songezo and his three siblings to the Western Cape in 2005, where Songezo came into contact with professional cycling for the first time.
At 15 years old, he watched as the Cape Argus Cycle Tour riders sped past his home. “There was a guy standing next to me who knew one of the riders and he told me he was from where we stayed. I asked him if he also cycled and he said yes, so I asked how I could start cycling,” says Songezo.
The two young men were students at the same school and it wasn’t long before Songezo joined a cycling club in Mashiphumelele, near Fish Hoek. Unfortunately, a few months down the line, the organisation ran out of sponsors and many cyclists began to quit. Songezo stayed on and joined a club in Khayelitsha. “That’s when I got support from Velokhaya Life Cycling Academy,” (Velokhaya is an organisation that uses cycling to help children living in under-resourced communities to deal with the challenges they face) “I was with them up until 2011. They gave me great support and took me around South Africa and even to Europe to race. It was really amazing.”
During this time, Songezo was named the 2010 Under 23 Western Province Champion – an impressive feat given that five years previously he hadn’t known how to ride a bicycle. His success eventually led to an invitation to join team MTN-Qhubeka in 2012.
As a member of Team MTN-Qhubeka, Songezo is proud to support World Bicycle Relief and the Qhubeka project, which provides bicycles to rural children in return for work done to improve their communities.
“I love racing with MTN-Qhubeka…The vision of Team MTN-Qhubeka is amazing. The team is taking the riders to where we all want to be”.
"Back in the days when I lived in the Eastern Cape, I used to walk to school. I walked for over an hour to get there, he says. I know how it is and how much time it takes, so the WBR / Qhubeka project is something I really love. And it’s not about spoon-feeding people you have to work to get a bike, which is great. It’s something I never had and I appreciate what they’re doing."
Starting July 29th, Songezo will lead a team of four amateur riders during the 2012 Trois Etape pro-am cycling tour to raise money for World Bicycle Relief's education programs in rural Africa.
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